Press Releases


Judith Butler and Franco Berardi upcoming lectures as part of `The State of Things’ / Norway at La Biennale di Venezia


Gender Theorist Judith Butler on
'The Politics of the Street and New Forms of Alliance'
Wednesday, 7 September at 18:00  / Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice
Media Activist Franco Berardi on
'The 'Movimento Studentesco' and Pier Paolo Pasolini:
A Misunderstanding

Thursday, 8 September at 18:00  / Laboratorio Occupato Morion, Venice

In June 2011, OCA launched 'The State of Things’ during the opening of La Biennale di Venezia, as a Norway’s official contribution to its 54th edition. In lieu of an exhibition, OCA organised a series of public lectures by leading intellectuals who were asked to offer their perspective on the state of things – in relation to the state of Europe today, a politics of resistance, immigration, diversity, human rights, capital, asylum and, possibly, aesthetics. Instead of following a traditional model and present a conventional exhibition project for the Norwegian representation at the Biennale, OCA decided to propose a programme reflecting on the increasing social friction and intolerant atmosphere worldwide, and especially in the West, in relation to difference and complexity, which is under attack from often inflammatory political rhetoric.

'The State of Things’ begun with talks by Jacques Rancière, Leo Bersani, Vandana Shiva, Jan Egeland, Fawaz Gergez and Eyal Weizman, and continues in September with Judith Butler on 'The Politics of the Street and New Forms of Alliance’ (7 September) followed by Franco Berardi with a paper that takes film-maker Paolo Pasolini’s figure as of a cipher and a warning for an age dominated by media and financial authorities and characterised by barbarianism and aggression (8 September).

*The lectures are free and open to everyone. They are also available through live streaming and later archived at OCA’s website. A publication compiling all the papers will be published upon the completion of the programme in January 2012.

Lecture # 7 as part of 'The State of Things'
Gender theorist Judith Butler speaks about 'The Politics of the Street and New Forms of Alliance'

Date and Time: Wednesday, 7 September / 18:00
Location: Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Castello 5252, Venice map

Although some have argued that the politics of the street has been replaced by new media politics, it seems that the public sphere within which politics takes place is now defined by a specific mode of bodies interacting with media. Hannah Arendt once argued that there could be no exercise of freedom without the creation of a 'space of appearance' and even 'a right to appear'. How do we understand those new forms of democratic insurgency that form alliances that are not in coalitional forms? Who is the embodied 'we' on the street transported through media, and yet in place and at risk?

About Judith Butler

Judith Butler (b.1956, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, lives and works in Berkeley, California, USA) is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature and the Co-Director of the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of, among others, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’ (1993), Excitable Speech (1997) and Is Critique Secular?: Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech (co-written with Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood and Wendy Brown in 2009). She is also active in gender and sexual politics and human rights, anti-war politics and Jewish Voice for Peace. Butler is presently the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Humanities.

Lecture # 8 as part of 'The State of Things'
Media activist Franco Berardi speaks about 'The 'Movimento Studentesco' and Pier Paolo Pasolini: A Misunderstanding’

Date and Time: Thursday, 8 September / 18:00
Location: Laboratorio Occupato Morion, Salizada San Francesco della Vigna, Castello 2842, Venice map 

In 1968 the relation between Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Student Movement in Italy was a troubled one. In the midst of the controversy, Pasolini was accused by the students of being a populist representative of a backward culture, nostalgic of a legendary pre-modern time. This paper will argue that, from today's perspective, things seem different, and Pasolini can be understood not to have been looking to the past but to the distant future that is now our present: an age characterised by barbarianism and of ignorant aggressiveness. Today, in the age of the televisual and financial dictatorship, reading Pasolini is a way to retrace the genesis of Italy's present.

About Franco Berardi

Franco Berardi (b.1949, Bologna, Italy) founded the magazine A/traverso (1975–81) and was part of the staff of Radio Alice (1976–78). After being involved in the political movement of Autonomia in Italy during the 1970s, Berardi fled to Paris, where he worked with philosopher and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari in the field of schizoanalysis during the 1980s. He currently teaches social history of the media at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, and is the founder of the European School of Social Imagination (SCEPSI) which was inaugurated in San Marino in May 2011.


Lecture # 9
Saskia Sassen – When the Acute Challenges of Our Epoch Materialise in Cities
Date and Time: Thursday, 20 October / 17:30
Location: Aula Tafuri, Palazzo Badoer, Università Iuav di Venezia, Calle della Lacca, San Polo 2468, Venice

Lecture # 10
T.J. Clark – The Experience of Defeat
Date and Time: Thursday, 17 November / 18:00
Location: at Auditorium Santa Margherita, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Campo Santa Margherita, Dorsoduro 3689, Venice

'The State of Things’ is commissioned, organised and supported by OCA, and has been made possible with the additional support of Fritt Ord and the contribution of Aud and Paolo Cuniberti.